Privacy Laws The United States and Globally

Research laws regarding privacy and data protection in your country and tell us about them. How do they compare to those in other parts of the world?

Privacy Laws: The United States and Globally
The protection of personal information has become increasingly important due to internet use that enables personal data to be distributed instantaneously. If you are conducting business in global jurisdictions you do need to be aware that privacy laws are not equal in every country. Use the most restrictive regulatory regimes to avoid difficulties (Carron, 2009).
The United States is a leader in developing new technologies to support internet infrastructure and electronic commerce. As this commerce becomes more global there are concerns about new business models and the technologies that may compromise privacy interests of consumers. Advocates for privacy protections argue that privacy issues need more laws.
The Federal Trade Commission Act was enacted to prevent unfair competition and deceptive acts and practices in national and global commerce. The FTC will take action against companies that fail to comply with privacy policies or misrepresent their information (Standler, 1997).
Title V of The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act states that privacy relating to personal financial information is essential.  Financial institutions may disclose a consumer’s personal financial information only when subpoenaed by a court of law. Privacy policies must be written and given to every customer of any financial institution. Consumers may opt-out or stop financial institutions from disclosing their account numbers to third parties for use in product promoting.
The Identify Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 deem identity theft a federal crime to use without permission or lawful power someone else's identification intending to commit any unlawful activity. The FBI has an entire department dedicated to finding and punishing those who commit identity theft.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was enacted to protect the privacy of personal health information. These regulations apply mainly to health insurance and clearinghouses as well as health care providers who send out health information via electronic transactions.
Canadian privacy laws are confined in the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act of 2004. Public health information cannot be transmitted in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia or Quebec. All financial or health information is protected from crossing the border or being used in marketing activities. Privacy of individual consumers is protected in the course of commercial activity.
In 2006 the Privacy Commissioner of Canada decreed that Facebook was in violation of privacy laws in respect to consent and disclosure of personal information to third party developers. Retaining personal information after a subscriber closes their Facebook account, by the social network, constitutes a violation of Canadian law. This same law applies to all social networking sites.
European countries have very sophisticated personal information protections laws. Consent is the lynchpin of most privacy laws in Europe. European laws specify that data collected from individuals must have irrevocable consent before private data is mined. The purpose for data collecting must be stated in writing.
Privacy laws in many other world countries are generally a sub-set of constitutional law. Countries with privacy laws in regards to international trade include Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Privacy laws in Israeli are legislated by the Information and Technology Authority. This is the body that is in charge of enforcing confidentiality laws in Israel and has in print guidelines on using individual Israeli private information. The one privacy rule indicates that a contract between outsourcing personal data and the individual must be in force. This includes how the information is gathered to the processing of information. All reasons that private information is needed must be documented. To determine when the privacy laws take over, contact the ITA for exact information.
·         Racine-Netser, Maya  (2012). Israel: Privacy Protection In Outsourcing Services [Online]. Available: [Accessed on 19 January 2013].

·         Standler, Ronald B. (1997). Privacy Laws: A Report [Online]. Available: [Accessed 17 January 2013].

·         United States Privacy Laws (2012). United States Privacy Laws [Online]. Available: [Accessed 17 January 2013].


These are articles from my masters in software engineering classes. 
Elad Shalom,
CTO at


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